Legislative Session Report Week 8



March 4, 2022



  • Two in One
  • GFB Priorities Pass the House
  • GFB Co-Hosts Rural Caucus
  • GFB Commodity Advisory Committees Begin Spring Meetings
  • Farm Bill Hearings Begin
  • Another Chance to Double Your Impact!
  • Action This Week
  • Bills of Interest
  • Upcoming USDA Program Deadlines
  • Not a Member of Georgia Farm Bureau? Join Today!
  • Dates to Remember



As we inch towards Crossover Day, the Georgia General Assembly is seeing longer days, heated discussions, and controversial bills. It's been a good week for Georgia agriculture, however, as not one, but two of Georgia Farm Bureau's priority issues passed the House Thursday on what was already slated to be a crucial day for the ag community. The Senate was also busy debating legislation as well, as passing their version of the Amended FY22 Budget Thursday afternoon. The bill will now go to a Conference Committee for agreement.

Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) warned of a long day as he gaveled in this morning with a slate including a number of contentious bills. Members will now enjoy a three-day weekend in their districts before returning to the Gold Dome for Legislative Days 25-26 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is another Committee Work Day and the week will conclude with Legislative Day 27 on Friday - one legislative day before Crossover (March 15).

As Crossover Day approaches, Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) staff will continue to be at the Capitol to represent the interests of our membership and monitor the legislation that impacts agriculture and rural Georgia. For an update on bills that may affect you, please reference our Action This Week and Bills of Interest sections below.

Coach Kirby Smart was commended on the House floor for winning the coveted College Football Playoff earlier this year.
Tuesday was an exciting day under the Gold Dome for Georgia Bulldog fans as Coach Kirby Smart was commended on the House floor for winning the coveted College Football Playoff earlier this year. (Photo credit: Georgia House Photo)



On Thursday of this week, two of GFB’s priority issues, including our spotlight issue, were taken up by the House of Representatives for a full vote. HB 1150, the Freedom to Farm Act, sponsored by Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella) received a favorable bi-partisan vote of Y:102 to N:62. Debate on this bill lasted for approximately an hour as both proponents and opponents of the bill delivered their arguments regarding passage of the legislation. We greatly appreciate the work of Chairman Dickey and the support of those who spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor. During his closing testimony, Rep. Dickey held up a stack of handwritten notes from GFB County Presidents to show the widespread support from all across this state for these necessary changes to our Right to Farm law. The bill will now make its way to the Senate where we look forward to continuing our work with Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry), as this important legislation makes its way closer to the finish line. We appreciate the broad support from allied organizations that advocated on behalf of Georgia's farmers including: Georgia Agribusiness Council, Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Green Industry Association, Georgia Milk Producers, Georgia Poultry Federation, Georgia Urban Ag Council, and NFIB (Small Business Association).

Also receiving a favorable vote and passage out of the House on Thursday was HB 1175, the Georgia Raw Dairy Act. Sponsored by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn), this bill would legalize the sale of raw milk for human consumption by putting in place standards for safety, testing, and regulation. Although not originally on the debate calendar for Thursday, HB 1175 was added to a supplemental rules calendar after the House broke for a brief recess that day. The Georgia Raw Dairy Act would give opportunities, especially to our smaller dairy producers, to provide a product that has seen a surge in demand over the years.

We are pleased that both pieces of legislation have cleared the initial hurdles by passing the House. Those who have supported these measures along the way are in turn supporting Georgia’s farmers and the agricultural industry. To hear floor debate of each bill please click here. HB 1150 begins at ‘34:23’ and HB 1175 begins at ‘1:53:21.’

Chairman Robert Dickey presents House Bill 1150, the Freedom to Farm Act, to the House on Thursday. Chairman Dickey showed the support of GFB County Presidents who hand-wrote postcards

Chairman Robert Dickey (R-Musella) presents House Bill 1150, the Freedom to Farm Act, to the House on Thursday. Chairman Dickey showed the support of GFB County Presidents who hand-wrote postcards in support of the bill's passage. (Photo credit: Georgia House Photo)



GFB's twenty Commodity Advisory Committees (CACs) began their schedule of spring meetings this week, hosting eight total committees in the home office for industry updates and policy discussion. On Tuesday, the Environmental Horticulture, Feedgrain/Soybean, Aquaculture, and Dairy Committees met. On Thursday, the Fruits, Vegetables, Beef, and Hay Committees met. The Tobacco Committee met offsite in Tifton last week.

Meeting next will be the Water, Peanuts, Goats/Sheep, and Poultry Committees on Tuesday, March 15. The Cotton, Pecans, Swine, and Equine Committees will meet on Thursday, March 17.

For questions on CACs, please contact Public Policy staff Raynor Churchwell (row crops) or Jeremy Taylor (livestock).

GFB Commodity Committees Meet
Tim McMillan leads discussion during the Fruits Commodity Advisory Committee Meeting in Macon earlier this week. (Photo credit: Jay Stone)



The U.S. House Agriculture Committee, chaired by Georgia Rep. David Scott, began hearings on the reauthorization of the 2023 Farm Bill on Tuesday with a review of Title 1 Commodities. Along with representation by Georgia's House Ag Committee members Rep. David Scott, Rep. Sanford Bishop, Rep. Rick Allen, and Rep. Austin Scott, Georgia was in the spotlight as the committee heard testimony from Jaclyn Ford of Alapaha (National Cotton Council) and Meredith McNair Rogers of Camilla (U.S. Peanut Federation). 

“As we look ahead to the 2023 Farm Bill, I am committed to making sure that the full breadth of voices from our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and consumers is represented in our efforts. Today’s panel is an integral piece in that process, and I look forward to the months ahead as we discuss the other farm bill titles and issue areas," said Chairman Scott.

Full video of Tuesday's hearing can be found here. The next hearing will be to review Rural Development and will take place on Tuesday, March 8.

Jaclyn Ford National Cotton Council Testifies
Jaclyn Ford testifies to the House Ag Committee on Tuesday.


ImPACt Fund Logo


On December 7, 2021, after nearly two years of diligent evaluation and consideration, voting delegates at the 2021 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Annual Meeting unanimously endorsed the creation of the GFB Impact Fund, a political action committee (PAC), to advocate on behalf of agriculture, farmers, and our rural communities. The following week, the GFB Board of Directors unanimously voted to put it into action and simultaneously authorized the GFB Mutual Insurance Company to match every dollar contributed to the GFB State Impact Fund by February 28, 2022 - up to $500,000! However, given the momentum the Fund is receiving, the challenge has been extended to March 15! 

With election season on the horizon, it is vital that we work to get our PAC up and running as quickly as possible. Support for the GFB State Impact Fund can come from county Farm Bureaus, GFB members, local farm businesses, and others who share our mission. This additional tool will allow us to support the candidacies and elections of qualified individuals to public office who have demonstrated a commitment to furthering and strengthening the agricultural industry, regardless of political affiliation. With your support, we can ensure your voice has a seat at the table to protect agriculture for the next generation.

Each contribution to the GFB State Impact Fund is voluntary and will support candidates who support agriculture and Georgia Farm Bureau values. To learn more about the GFB Impact Fund, please contact Katie Duvall.

To contribute to the GFB State Impact Fund, please return your check and this form to:

GFB State Impact Fund
Attn: Katie Duvall
1620 Bass Road
Macon, GA 31210

*All contributions are solely voluntary and not tax deductible. Each contribution must be accompanied by the contribution form to be accepted.



To find more on a specific bill, visit the Georgia General Assembly website and use the "Search Legislation" tool at the top right.


HB 997:
Reps. Watson, England, Burns, Buckner, Hatchett, and others
This proposal would provide for a statewide constitutional referendum and question on the 2022 ballot to allow for an ad-valorem tax exemption on timber equipment and products. Equipment that would be exempt under this bill includes logging equipment such as wood cutters, loaders, bulldozers, skid steers, etc. Also included in the exemption would be timber products such as trees and other wood fiber products.
Withdrawn and Recommitted to House Ways and Means Committee on 3/3/2022.


HB 1150:
Reps. Dickey, Watson, England, Jasperse, and Pirkle
Also known as the Freedom to Farm Act, HB 1150, addresses ambiguity in Georgia’s current Right to Farm statute and seeks to protect farmers from frivolous nuisance claims brought by those who do not like the inherent aspects of agriculture. With Georgia’s number one economic driver being agriculture, there is a vested interest in protecting the families and businesses that provide all of our food and fiber. There has been an increase in the number of nuisance claims brought against Georgia farms due to recent federal court precedent that turns current Right to Farm law on its head. This bill would allow for a farm to have certainty after a period of time, as long as they are operating within the law and according to all rules and regulations, that they will be protected from unnecessary nuisance lawsuits.
Passed the House by Substitute on 3/3/2022. Assigned to Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 3/4/2022.


HB 1175:
Reps. Pirkle, Camp, Campbell, and Jenkins
This proposal comes out of a summer study committee consisting of members from the House Agriculture Committee. Chaired by Rep. Clay Pirkle, the committee looked into the issue of legalizing the sale of raw milk for human consumption. With the technological advancements in the dairy industry that provide for a very consistently safe product, many believed there was a way to produce raw (unpasteurized) milk that would be safe for human consumption. Many in the dairy industry, especially smaller producers, have been seeking a way to increase their already slim margins with a product like raw milk that brings a premium price due and has an increasing consumer demand. This bill would allow for the legal sale of raw milk for human consumption under a set of specific rules and regulations that seek to ensure a safe product.
Passed the House by Substitute on 3/3/2022. Assigned to Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 3/4/2022.


HB 1292:
Reps. Jasperse, Mathis, Erwin, England, and Pirkle
This bill would prohibit any student who is participating in a 4-H sponsored activity or program from being counted as absent at school.
Passed the House on 3/1/2022. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee on 3/3/2022.


HB 1303:
Reps. Dickey, England, Pirkle, Erwin, Bentley and others
This bill would transition a pilot program that has been in place for elementary agricultural education to an ongoing and permanent program. It would also require schools to hire an elementary agricultural education teacher to administer the program.
Passed the House on 3/1/2022. Assigned to Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on 3/3/2022.


HB 1371:
Reps. Jasperse, Watson, Corbett, England, and Campbell
This bill would establish the Rural Health Advancement Commission to address healthcare workforce shortages in rural areas of Georgia. The commission would be made up of 13 members from all across the medical field that will explore the issue and deliver an annual report.
House Special Committee on Access to Quality Healthcare Favorably Reported on 3/3/2022.


HB 1443:
Reps. Gaines, Wiedower, Gambill, Hagan, Cameron, and others
This bill would require that a mobile food service establishment permit be recognized in all counties while still being subject to local ordinances and the county’s board of health.
Assigned to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 2/28/2022.


HB 1450:
Reps. Rich, Tankersley, Camp, Hagan, Oliver, and others
This bill titled “The Georgia Safe Outdoor Dog Act” would put in place restrictions for how and where a dog may be kept when left unattended. It would make it illegal to leave a dog unattended without access to adequate food, shelter, and water and require the area where it is kept to be free of excess standing water or feces. It would also limit the types of restraints or tethers that could be used at any time. It does provide exemptions for times when a dog is directly participating in an agriculture, hunting, or other activities of recreational nature.
Assigned to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 2/28/2022.


HB 1451:
Reps. McLaurin and Gilligan
This proposal would eliminate the license or permit requirement to own an African Pygmy Hedgehog. This idea has been introduced in the past but presents multiple concerns regarding the spread of disease and the possible introduction of an invasive species into the wild.
Assigned to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 2/28/2022.


HB 1473:
Reps. Burchett, LaHood, Corbett, and Gambill
This bill would prohibit a train carrier from blocking a railroad crossing for longer than 15 minutes unless it is caused by a mechanical failure or accident. It would also impose a $500 monetary penalty per 5 minutes the train is blocking a crossing.
Assigned to House Transportation Committee on 3/1/2022.


HB 1479:
Reps. Corbett, Watson, Houston, Burns, and Dickey
This bill would make the State Board of Registration for Foresters an independent state agency and attach it to the State Forestry Commission for administrative purposes. The members of the board would be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate.
Assigned to House Natural Resources and Environment Committee on 3/3/2022.


HR 880:
Reps. Schofield, Smith, Thomas, Kirby, and Scott
This resolution encourages support of urban farming by local governments.
Assigned to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 3/3/2022.


SB 474:
Sens. Summers, Walker III, Harper, Goodman, Anderson
This legislation seeks to amend the state constitution and allow for an ad-valorem tax exemption on aircraft used for the aerial application of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, seeds, or any other agricultural product that would normally be used in an agricultural operation and can be applied by aerial application.
Senate Finance Committee Favorably Reported by Substitute on 3/3/2022.


SB 486:
Sens. Harper, Walker III, Anderson, Sims, Goodman
Last year GFB worked with Sen. Lee Anderson (R-Grovetown) to pass SB 247, which modernized the procedures for Commodity Commissions to serve notices, hold public hearings, and vote to better utilize commission funds and more effectively reach producers. This bill would provide for the same modernization and updates to the propane commodity commission.
Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Favorably Reported on 2/28/2022.


SB 578:
Sens. Walker III, Burns, Anderson, Burke and Summers
This bill would establish a “home kitchen operation” license to be issued by the Department of Agriculture. It would allow a “home kitchen operation” to prepare, pack, sell, and serve ready to eat foods directly to the consumer.


SB 591:
Sens. Hatchett and Ginn
This proposal would amend current metal theft law to generally allow for cash payments (up to $100) at secondary metal recyclers for deposits excluding utility wire, communications copper, copper wire, batteries, or catalytic converters. Under current law, recyclers may only pay using a check, electronic funds transfer, or a voucher as a proven method of curbing metal theft in our state. We greatly appreciate the bill sponsor, Sen. Bo Hatchett, for working to find a balance between deterrence of widespread metal theft while still allowing for a business-friendly environment. Hatchett incorporated numerous aspects in the bill to avoid a resurgence of metal theft including: maintaining extensive deposit records and documentation of personal identification of customers; a two-year repeal of this bill, unless extended by the legislature because no increased instances of theft are seen; and enhanced penalties by making it a felony if metal theft results in property damage above $3,000.
Assigned to Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on 3/3/2022.


SR 569:
Sens. Walker, Anderson, Goodman, Harper, Burke, and others
This resolution recognizes March as Georgia Peanut Month.


SR 580:
Sens. Walker, Anderson, Goodman, Harper, Burke, and others
This resolution commends the Georgia Cattlemen's Association for it's 60th Anniversary.



To find more on a specific bill, visit the Georgia General Assembly website and use the "Search Legislation" tool at the top right.


HB 44:
Reps. Cantrell, Greene, Barr, Werkheiser, Gambill, and Williams
This bill would require Georgia to observe Daylight Savings Time year-round. This will only become effective if Congress authorizes states to observe daylight savings time year-round.
House Passed/Adopted on 3/5/2021. Assigned to Senate Rules Committee on 1/10/2022.


HB 139:
Reps. Mainor, Dukes, McClain, Mallow, and Thomas
This bill would prohibit trains from blocking any traffic crossing for longer than 15 minutes (with exceptions for safety reasons), and also require signage at crossings providing a telephone number to report such instances.
Assigned to House Transportation Committee on 1/28/2021.


HB 482:
Reps. Lim and Holcomb
This bill would provide a preferential tax rate program that seeks to promote urban agriculture as well as provide for urban agricultural incentive zones that would be located in areas with a 15% or greater poverty rate. The program includes restrictions for properties that enter a contract such as being at least .10 acres but not more than 5 acres and for an initial term of at least 5 years. This bill is the enabling legislation for HR 164 that would put this change on the ballot in 2022 as a constitutional amendment.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 2/17/2021.


HB 496:
Reps. Burchett, Burns, Rhodes, Ridley, and Williams
This bill seeks to create a $1,000 Annual Forest Product Permit, issuable by the Department of Transportation, allowing vehicles hauling timber up to a gross weight of 95,000, up to 10 feet wide, and no more than 100 feet long.
Assigned to House Transportation Committee on 2/18/2021.


HB 500:
Reps. Burchett, Blackmon, Dickey, Rhodes, and Watson
The Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act, established in 2017, provides a system of non-traditional loans for rural businesses to encourage economic growth and jobs. This legislation would provide the second round of funding, in the amount of $100 million, to replenish the program.
Passed the House by Substitute on 2/22/2022. Assigned to Senate Finance Committee on 2/24/2022.


HB 504:
Reps. Williamson, Reeves, Burns, Knight, Blackmon, and Lott
Similar to HB 500, this legislation provides a second round of funding for the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act in the amount of $100 million. However, the bill goes on to create a new NAICS code and tax program for medical equipment and supplies manufacturers. Additionally, this bill goes on to address other tax credit programs dealing with high-impact aerospace defense projects, Georgia ports, and railroads.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 2/18/2021.


HB 608:
Reps. Wiedower, Burns, Smyre, Parsons, and Kelley
In an effort to enhance the expansion of broadband to unserved areas, this legislation authorizes the use of OneGeorgia funds to award contracts to qualified providers under the Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative.
Assigned to House Governmental Affairs Committee on 2/24/2021.


HB 976:
Reps. Schofield, Jackson, Scott, Buckner, Bentley, and others
This bill seeks to establish a “Black Farmer Restoration Office” to support current Black farmers and to encourage the growth of Black farmers into the field of agriculture. It also would establish a “Farm Conservation Corps” to provide on-farm apprenticeships to those between the ages of 18 and 29 from socially disadvantaged groups. According to the proposal, farms offering the apprenticeship must have a gross annual income of less than $250,000 and be owned by a social disadvantaged farmer, a beginning farmer, or a certified organic farmer.
Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on 1/25/2022.


HB 978:
Reps. Smith, Stephens, England, Greene, and Dempsey
This bill would require the board of tax assessors for a county that is declared a disaster area to conduct a full appraisal of all the properties located within the disaster area to determine if the current appraised value still reflects the value of the properties following the declared disaster. If it does not, the tax assessor must adjust the appraised value and notify the property owner.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 1/25/2022.


HB 1002:
Reps. Smith, Gambill, Williams, Scoggins, McDonald, and others
This bill would designate the opossum as the official state marsupial.
Assigned to House State Planning and Community Affairs Committee on 1/26/2022.


HB 1038:
Reps. Cooper, Jasperse, Corbett, Watson, and England
In recent years, the General Assembly has focused on bolstering availability of rural healthcare. This bill would expand the eligibility of an existing state income tax credit currently limited to physicians practicing in rural areas (<50,000) to also include dentists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 1/27/2022.


HB 1041:
Reps. Pirkle, Jasperse, Watson, England, Corbett, and others
This legislation increases the available tax credits for contributions to rural hospitals from $65 to $75 million per year.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 1/27/2022.


HB 1055:
Reps. Ridley, Corbett, Barton, and Anderson
This bill would amend the definition of “all-terrain vehicle” by increasing the maximum weight to from 2500 lbs to 3500 lbs.
Passed the House on 2/07/2022. Referred to Senate Transportation Committee on 2/08/2022.


HB 1147:
Reps. Rhodes, Corbett, LaHood, Ridley, and Smith
This bill would authorize the hunting and trapping of raccoons and opossum year round.
Passed the House on 2/15/2022. Assigned to Senate Natural Resources & Environment Committee on 2/17/2022.


HB 1176:
Reps. Pirkle and Clark
This bill pertains to the right of those to maintain and repair their own personal property, whether it be a cell phone or agricultural equipment. Although this would apply to many consumer items, it is increasingly important for the agricultural sector. Farm equipment is now reliant on computer systems, and technological barriers placed in the software and codes of equipment are only accessible to the manufacturer and dealers. Currently, farmers must rely on dealers for repairs to their tractors and equipment due to these stop-guards which render equipment useless unless parts and repairs are done by an authorized dealer technician.

Without third-party access to the necessary tools and software, farmers are beholden to the prices and schedules of manufacturers. Farmers already face historically high costs to purchase equipment, and with the consolidation of many dealers they must also face high prices for dealer technicians to travel long distances to the farm to make repairs—an issue that could be addressed with third-party solutions. This legislation would require that manufacturers make available to independent service providers or owners of the equipment, at a fair and reasonable cost, the tools, parts, and manuals necessary to work on their own equipment.
Assigned to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 2/03/2022.


HB 1301:
Reps. Hogan, Watson, Gambill, Bentley, Meeks, and others
This bill would prohibit local governments from differentiating the use of, standards, or treatment of  gas powered leaf blowers from any other such equipment. It would not however, restrict a county from promoting the use of alternatively powered leaf blowers. 
House Governmental Affairs Committee Favorably Reported on 2/24/22.


HB 1309:
Reps. Thomas, Schofield, Lim, and Lewis-Ward
Also known as the Georgia Urban Farming Youth Initiative Act, HB 1309 would create a pilot program through UGA's Cooperative Extension Service to promote farming and the efficient use of land in urban counties (with a population of 150,000+); educate program participants on all aspects of farming in an urban environment and encourage other members of the community to begin and to continue farming; and provide a sufficient understanding of farming operations so as to facilitate the ability of graduating participants to obtain Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption (GATE) identification numbers and subsequently operate successful, small-scale farms within their communities.
Assigned to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 2/11/2022.


HB 1384:
Reps. Jenkins, Camp, Greene, Jasperse, and Knight
This proposal would allow for the use of ungraded lumber in the construction or repair of any uninhabited structure on property zoned for residential or agricultural use.
Assigned to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 2/22/2022.


HR 164:
Reps. Lim and Holcomb
HR 164 would allow for a constitutional amendment to be on the ballot in 2022 should HB 482 pass. See above for additional information on HB 482.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 2/17/2021.


HR 686:
Reps. Watson, Burns, Buckner, Corbett, and Hatchett
This resolution proposes an amendment to the state constitution that would reduce the rate of ad-valorem tax assessment on timber at the time of sale or harvest. The proposal would require that the state appropriate funds annually to each county or municipality to compensate for any loss in revenue.
House Ways & Means Committee Favorably Reported by Substitute on 2/24/2022.


SB 30:
Sens. Beach and Harbison
Senate Bill 30 would provide for pari-mutuel horse racing in the state at a limited number of licensed equestrian centers, create the Georgia Horse Racing Commission, and provide for the comprehensive regulation of pari-mutuel horse racing and related activities.
Referred to Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee on 1/28/2021.


SB 65:
Sens. Gooch, Miller, Cowsert, Tillery, Harper, and Hatchett
In a continued effort to expand broadband access to rural and un-served communities, this legislation allows the Public Service Commission and Department of Community Affairs to utilize a portion of the Universal Access Fund for such services.
Assigned to Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee on 2/2/2021.


SB 118:
Sens. Harper, Burke, Tillery, Goodman, Anderson, and Kennedy
SB 118 would increase truck weights for 6-axle timber haulers up to 100,000 lbs.
Assigned to Senate Transportation Committee on 2/10/2021.


SB 396:
Sens. Goodman, Jones II, Walker III, Harper, Sims and others
This bill seeks to create the Georgia Farm to Foodbank (F2FB) Program by changing the Georgia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This initiative is a Governor’s priority and included in his budget proposal is $800,000 to fund the program. The funds will be used for grants to provide Georgia Grown products straight from producers to regional foodbanks that will be able to use that food to feed those who need food assistance. The program will be administered by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and they will submit an annual report that contains information on where the food came from and where it went.
Passed the Senate on 2/11/2022. House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee Favorably Reported on 2/23/2022.


SB 481:
Sens. Jackson, Harper, Mullis, Jones II, Summers
This bipartisan piece of legislation would amend the “Georgia Hemp Farming Act” to allow for someone convicted of a misdemeanor that involved the sale or trafficking of a controlled substance to still be permitted to grow hemp in Georgia. Under this proposal anyone convicted of a felony involving the sale or trafficking of a controlled substance would still be prohibited from obtaining a permit to grow hemp.
Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Favorably Reported on 2/22/2022.


SB 537:
Sens. Jones II, Goodman, Jackson, Sims, Rhett and others
This bipartisan bill would establish the “Georgia Food Security Advisory Council” made up of 23 members ranging from the Commissioner of Agriculture to representatives from the public health community. One member would be a Georgia farmer appointed by the Majority Leader of the senate in consultation with the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. This council would make recommendations that seek to end food insecurity in Georgia.
Assigned to Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 2/22/2022.


SR 460:
Sens. Halpern, Harrell, Jones II, Davenport, Butler
This resolution recognizes February as Career, Technical, and Agriculture Education Month to highlight the necessity of programs that support critical sectors of Georgia's economy, including the agriculture industry.
Senate Read and Adopted on 2/10/2022.

Federal Updates


Several U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) national program deadlines are approaching. Note that this list does not include every deadline, and only includes federal deadlines. Check with the local USDA Service Center to learn about all available programs, and programs that have local or state level deadlines.


Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Programs
Mar 15, 2022

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages producers to contact their local USDA Service Centers to make or change elections and to enroll for 2022 Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, providing future protections against market fluctuations. The election and enrollment period opened on Oct. 18, 2021 and runs through March 15, 2022.
Learn more about ARC and PLC 


Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program (SMHPP)
April 15, 2022

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept applications for the Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program (SMHPP) from December 15, 2021, through February 25, 2022. SMHPP provides pandemic assistance to hog producers who sold hogs through a negotiated sale from April 16, 2020 through September 1, 2020, the period in which these producers faced the greatest reduction in market prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.
Learn more about SMHPP



The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation has a membership of almost 250,000 and serves as state's the largest general farm organization.  Our goal is to provide leadership and assistance to the agricultural sector, to promote farm products, to aid in ag-related procurement, to be a spokesman for the farmer in the legislative arena, to be a leader in the development and expansion of farm markets, and to strive for more agricultural research and educational funds and facilities.

With members in all 159 Georgia counties, Georgia Farm Bureau is dedicated to promoting and improving agriculture in our counties, state and nation and in continually improving and expanding our service-to-member programs which serve to enhance the quality of life for all Georgians.

Membership in Georgia Farm Bureau is open to everyone. You don't need to be a farmer or have insurance with us to join Farm Bureau!

If you would like to become a member of Georgia Farm Bureau, you can start your membership online right now! We have a simple application process, and you can be our newest member in just a couple of minutes. Click the button below or use our County Office Locator to find the office nearest you.



  • March 15: Georgia Cattlemen's Association Steak Biscuit Day at the Capitol

Public Policy Department Staff

Alex Bradford, Director
Raynor Churchwell, Agricultural Programs Manager
Katie Duvall, Advocacy and Policy Development Coordinator
Renee Jones, Operations Coordinator
Jake Matthews, Governmental Affairs Specialist
Jeremy Taylor, Agricultural Programs Specialist